The Privilege to Select. Global Research System, European Academic Library Collections, and Decolonisation

Nora Schmidt, Jutta Haider, Fredrik Åström
2020 Zenodo  
A large part of the literature published in the 'Global South' is barely covered by bibliographic databases. Institutional policies increasingly require researchers globally to publish in 'international' journals, draining local infrastructures. The standard-setting power of 'Global South' scholars is minimised further. My main aim is to render visible the ways in which European academic libraries contribute to this situation. It is explained as a consequence of specific features of current
more » ... d society, referred to as coloniality, social injustice, and quantified communication. The thesis analyses peripherality conceptually and scientometrically: based on a sample, how is Southeast African basic social sciences and humanities (SSH) research integrated in global scholarly communication, and how do local dissemination infrastructures develop under these conditions? Finally, how are professional values, specifically neutrality, and workflows of European academic libraries, interrelated with these developments? The methodological approach of the thesis is multi-faceted, including conceptual analyses, scientometrics, and a short survey of collection managers and an analysis of the corresponding libraries' collection policies. The off-mainstream decolonial scientometric approach required the construction of a database from multiple sources. Southeast Africa was selected as a field for some of the empirical studies included, because out of all rarely studied local communities to which a peripheral status is commonly attributed, the large majority of Southeast African authors use English as their primary academic language. This excludes linguistic reasons for the peripheral attribution. The theoretical and conceptual point of departure is to analyse scholarly communication as a self-referential social system with global reach (Luhmann). In this thesis, an unorthodox understanding of social systems theory is developed, providing it with cultural humility, inspired by decolonial thinking. The value of the approach lies i [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.4302687 fatcat:arvfsmwxeraepg2lochjjjptoy